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Every feeling that looks to the future elevates human nature; for life is never so low or so little as when it concentrates itself on the present. The miserable wants, the small desires, and the petty pleasures of daily existence have nothing in common with those mighty dreams which, looking forward for action and action's reward, redeem the earth over which they walk with steps like those of an angel, beneath which spring up glorious and immortal flowers. The imagination is man's noblest and most spiritual faculty ; and that ever dwells on the to-come.
'Tis a strange mystery, the power of words! Life is in them, and death. A word can send The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek. Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn The current cold and deadly to the heart. Anger and fear are in them; grief and joy Are on their sound; yet slight, impalpable:-- A word is but a breath of passing air.
Alas ! the contrast between us, and what We can create; That man should be so little in himself, His works so great.
Conjugal government requires its treatises. A young woman setting out in life lacks a printed guide. Her cookery-book, however, may afford some useful hints till one be actually directed to the important subject just mentioned. Many well-known receipts are equally available for a batterie de cuisine or du cœur. Your roasted husband is subdued by the fire of fierce words and fiercer looks — your broiled husband, under the pepper and salt of taunt and innuendo — your stewed husband, under the constant application of petty vexations — your boiled husband dissolves under the watery influences — while your confectionized husband goes through a course of the blanc mange of flattery, or the preserves and sweets of caresses and smiles.
Every age has its characteristic, and our present one is not behind its predecessors in that respect ; it is the age of systems, every system enforced by a treatise.
Grief, after all, is like smoking in a damp country — what was at first a necessity becomes afterwards an indulgence.
I dreamed a dream, that I had flung a chain of roses around Love, — I woke, and found I had chained Sorrow.
I like a cat because it does not disguise its selfishness with any flattering hypocrisies. Its attachment is not to yourself, but to your house. Let it but have food, and a warm lair among the embers, and it heeds not at whose expense. Then it has the spirit to resent aggression. You shall beat your dog, and he will fawn upon you; but a cat never forgives : it has no tender mercies, and it torments before it destroys its prey.
It is the veriest madness man In maddest mood can frame, To feed the earth with human gore, And then to call it fame.
Love has no power to look forward — the delicious consciousness of the present, a faint but delightful shadow of the past, form its eternity.
Nothing more indicates those tastes and habits which go so far towards both making and showing the character — as a person's sitting-room.
Praise — actual personal praise— oftener frets and embarrasses than it encourages. It is too small when too near.
The first love-letter is an epoch in love's happy season — it makes assurance doubly sure — that which has hitherto, perhaps, only found utterance in sweet and hurried words, now seems to take a more tangible existence. A love-letter is a proof of how dearly, even in absence, you are remembered.
The free pen, prone to pour out the suggestions of artless affection, vivid imagination, or domestic anecdote, is as much woman's especial instrument as the needle.
The history of most fictions would be far stranger than the fictions themselves ; but it would be a dark and sad chronicle.
The past was once the future, and it wrought In the high presence of on-looking thought ; All that we have, was by its efforts brought.
The power of young Joy, like that of young Love, does not travel far on the dusty road of life in general.
THE present! it is but a drop from the sea In the mighty depths of eternity. I love it not—it taketh its birth Too near to the dull and the common earth.
There are in existence two periods when we shrink from any great vicissitude—early youth and old age. In the middle of life, we are indifferent to change ; for we have discovered that nothing is, in the end, so good or so bad as it at first appeared.
There is a steep and lofty wall, Where my warders trembling stand, He who at speed shall ride round its height, For him shall be my hand.
Water—the mighty, the pure, the beautiful, the unfathomable—where is thy element so glorious as it is in thine own domain, the deep seas ? What an infinity of power is in the far Atlantic, the boundary of two separate worlds, apart like those of memory and of hope ! or in the bright Pacific, whose tides are turned to gold by a southern sun, and in whose bosom sleep a thousand isles, each covered with the verdure, the flowers, and the fruit of Eden ! But, amid all thy hereditary kingdoms, to which hast thou given beauty, as a birthright, lavishly as thou hast to thy favourite Mediterranean ? The silence of a summer night is now sleeping on its bosom, where the bright stars are mirrored, as if in its depths they had another home and another heaven. A spirit, cleaving air midway between the two, might have paused to ask which was sea, and which was sky. The shadows of earth and earthly things, resting omen-like upon the waters, alone shewed which was the home and which the mirror of the celestial host.
When we trace to their source the most important circumstances of our life, in what trifles have they originated ! — a look, a word, are the ministers of fate.
Whether wealth bring the curse of selfishness along with it, or that the leaven was in our nature, only dormant till called forth by circumstances, we are only too apt to misuse it, even as others have done before us.
While bills are being brought into the House of Commons to regulate every thing, from the sweeps crying "sweep," to "emancipation, vote by ballot, and free trade," is there no county member whose "time and talents'' are devoted to "domestic policy," who will bring in a bill "for the better regulation of the marriage ceremony," and put the canonical hours later in the day ? at all events, could there not be a special clause in favour of London ? A spring morning there is the very reverse of Thomson's description ; for "delicious mildness" read "a cutting east wind;" and for "veiled in roses" substitute "smoke and fog." The streets are given up to the necessities of life — to the milkman with his cans, the butcher with his tray, the baker with his basket ; all belong to the material portion of existence. Now, marriage is (or ought to be) an affair of affections, sentiments, &c. The legislature ought to give it the full benefit of moonlight and wax-candles.
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